Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe



Lenka Vagnerova and Company like to use dance, physical theatre, puppetry and drama to tell obscure and abstract stories. Gossip is a series of sequences woven together that take a fantastical look at chatter, rumours and misinformation. It is not a linear drama, instead Gossip is like a dream where your imagination starts to play tricks on you.

When the audience enter the Main House at the Zoo Southside venue the first thing they will notice is the distinct smell of popcorn. A popcorn machine sits to the side of the stage, while a solo performer stands centre stage, holding a tray of empty wine glasses and creaking his neck in jittery movements. When the house lights dim and the show begins the solo performer is joined by the rest of the company. The players move around the stage like a series of malfunction automaton. Meanwhile a series of sounds that can be best described as rhythmic scratching and panting is playing over the P.A. This creates an anxious atmosphere and adds to the bizarre visual theatre that is playing out onstage. All of the audiences senses are called upon to witness the strange story that is unfolding in front of them.

Gossip is imaginative in its approach to physical theatre and walks the line between surreal comedy and high concept drama. At one point in the show a large mound of tape is pulled out from behind one of the performers. It is a strange conjuring trick, but also the introduction to one of the most exciting and original pieces of visual theatre in the show. The tape is turned into a large pulsating monster that stalks the stage. It is a fantastic piece of puppetry and object manipulation and highlights the ingenious nature of Gossip and just how bizarre and surreal the performance is.

The performance is part of the Czech Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017. This programme features circus, dance, physical theatre and drama and the other shows will need to go a long way to top the imaginative nature of Gossip.